A Comparison Of Some Of The Top Bilstein Shocks

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The Bilstein 5100, 5160, and 6112 are the most popular shock absorbers in the market. The latter is not as popular as the former two, but if you are an off-road fan, it must be something you’ve come across.

All these suspensions come with seemingly minor differences on paper, but that greatly impacts their operational characteristics in the real world.

Which among the three is your favorite? Or which do you drive? This guide will help you with the detailed comparison of Bilstein 5100, 5160, and 6112.

Bilstein 5100 vs. 5160 vs. 6112: Comparison Chart

If you need a smoother ride on your off-road expedition, then the Bilstein 5160 will suit you just perfectly. For a more challenging ride, you can rely on the 5100. Not much is said about the Bilstein 6112. However, they are the largest of the three, and you can push them everywhere, literally. You’ll need coil-over suspension support to run the Bilstein 6112.

Before we dive deeper, here is a comparison of the three shock absorbers.

 Bilstein 5100Bilstein 5160Bilstein 6112
TypeMonotubeTwin tubeMonotube
Body Size1.95″2.0”2.65”
Piston Size46mm46mm60mm
Rod Size14mm14mm18mm
Body MaterialSteelSteelSteel
Rod MaterialSteelSteelSteel
Shock Body Diameter1.95”2.0”2.65”
Remote Reservoir ShockNoYesNo
Rear ShockYesYesNo
Lift SpringsYesNoYes
Floating Piston YesYesYes
Gas BagYesYesYes
PriceFrom $89.99From $199.99From $770.00

Bilstein 5100 vs. 5160 vs. 6112: Detailed Comparison

Type: Monotube vs. Twin Tube

The most striking difference between a mono-tube and a twin-tube lies in the number of tubes in the shock. However, the two tubes don’t necessarily translate to double-output.

Concerning these three shocks, both the Bilstein 5100 and 6112 have a mono-tube design, while the 5160 comes with a twin-tube configuration. The extra ‘tube’ on the 5160 acts as a fluid reservoir to help in pressure transmission.


All three shocks are made from steel. Steel is immensely durable and can transmit heat effectively. As a result, it is the best material for the job, as the operation involves working under great amounts of pressure.


Your shock size matters a lot in every possible aspect. A smaller shock translates to less fluid capacity and lower shock absorption and dampening.

The Bilstein 5110 has the smallest circumference among the three. That makes the 5260 and 6112 better choices in the long run.


The Bilstein 5100 is the favorite go-to for most off-roaders out there. These shocks are good for moderate off-road driving and come at a reasonable price. The 5160 has an extra reservoir for longer shock life and better heat dissipation.

The 6112 are Bilstein’s newest coil overs and are best for extreme off-roading. Furthermore, they show great heat dissipation, superior dampening and come with five adjustable heights.


The 6112’s springs are pretty tough. They are cold-treated and custom-engineered to offer optimum performance on the roughest terrain. They are the latest Eibach Springs generation. However, you’ll need to spend more on these.

The 5100 has pretty decent springs to it but can’t match the effectiveness of the 6112. It will give you adequate damping capacity for a smooth ride in rough terrain.

The 5160, on the other hand, doesn’t come with lift springs but a dual-tube design that kind of makes up for the lack thereof.

Gas/ Oil

Oil/gas plays an essential role in all three shocks. First, maintain enough pressure to sustain your car on that rough terrain and dissipate as much heat as possible to keep the whole system realistically cool.

The Bilstein 6112 has the largest shaft, which holds the most oil. That practically makes it the best of the three, with the Bilstein 5160 coming second and the 5100 last.


The Bilstein 6112 is a little pricier than the 5100 and 5160. That’s backed up by improved performance and premium-grade durability.

Bilstein 5100 vs. 5160 vs. 6112: Pros and Cons

 Bilstein 5100Bilstein 5160Bilstein 6112
ProsGreat dampening potential
Reliable availability
Twin tubes allow for more liquid and better results with heat dissipation.Great dampening potential
Value for money
ConsNot great for hardcore off-road activitiesNot great for hardcore off-road activitiesExpensive

Bilstein 5100 vs. 5160 vs. 6112: Are They Interchangeable?

The answer to this question is Yes and No. Let’s see.

There’s nothing wrong with your 5100s. The Bilstein 5100 is made to be used for either the front or back. Most people use them as rear shocks and still find them comfortable to date. However, you cannot deny that the 6112s are way better. They are specially designed to be used in the car’s front.

The 5160 is a great shock, and it is surprising to note that all these shocks can be interchangeable; make sure to match a similar kind when you’re doing the interchange. E.g., you should put them in either the front or the back of the car.

Final Thoughts

All three shocks are digressive in terms of valve design. That means that you’ll be getting improved road and off-road handling, greater damping capacity, greater nosedive response, and smoother rides than most other shocks out there.

The 6112 is the best option among the three, all down to its overall design. It comes with a huge cylinder with a bigger shaft for better pressure and heat dissipation. Again, its spring is quite strong and will be enough for you even when doing intense off-roading with a loaded truck.

The 5100 is the most common shock of the three. It has a pretty basic-sized shaft that holds adequate pressure transmission. It is the kind of suspension you’d need if you travel lightly daily and maybe would love off-roading on a light perspective.


1. Can you adjust Bilstein 5100 shocks?

Yes! You can adjust the Bilstein 5100s. They use your vehicle’s stock coils with an adjustable circlip that holds the spring collar.

2. Can I use Bilstein 5100 with stock height?

Yes! Even though there will be some very small noticeable difference, it is accompanied by much improvement. Your car’s front shocks are adjustable to a range of 0-2inch level of a lift.

3. Are Bilstein 5160 shocks Re-buildable?

Yes, the Bilstein 5160 shocks are re-buildable. However, they either need to be converted with a kit, or you could send them back to the manufacturer for a re-build.

4. Is the Bilstein 6112 a coilover?

Answer; The Bilstein 6112 is a 60mm (2.65″) diameter Coilover shock that incorporates technologies perfected over a half-century of shock development. The bigger 60mm body has an increased pressure, which assists in cooling, improves damping capacity, and maintains long-term endurance.

5. Are Bilstein 5160 height adjustable?

Yes! The Bilstein 5160 are height adjustable. They use rings/snap rings on the shock body to allow you to ride at your preferred height without affecting the shock’s travel. That gets you greater damping power adjustment and, hence, a smooth ride.

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